Last night I was at the stove stirring risotto (all Jeff Smith risotto recipes require that you not merely boil your arborio rice but stand at the stove stirring thoughtfully -- and, in my own special twist on the classics, drinking buckets of pinot grigio -- for half an hour) when Jackson wandered into the kitchen and asked me to pick him up so he could see what was cooking. I stooped down to put him on my left hip, and as I started to straighten up holding thirty-three some odd pounds of boy I got this awful pulling sensation across my abdomen, like my uterus was about to detach from its tendons. As I gently replaced Jackson's feet on the kitchen floor, I felt the hot wave of adrenalin-fueled hypochondria start to claw its way up my spine, and for the thousandth time in my life I began to run down my Checklist of Sudden, Possibly Life-Threatening, and Definitely Painful Diseases That I Probably Have.


Generalized lower abdominal tenderness.

Possible reasons to panic:

Who cares if it's been two-and-a-half years since I gave birth. Or perhaps I've just been reading too many web sites of people who just had babies.

Check calendar -- the time is right for ovulation, though this would be the most dramatic dual-ovary synchronized egg release ever in my personal experience -- but there's no time to Google endometriosis before Jack suggests it's a . . .

Lower intestine suddenly pops through abdominal wall while person is in the act of lifting heavy object -- lift up shirt, pull down waistband of pink velour pants -- see any lumps of intestine straining through skin? Negative. Still, though. But wait! What about . . .

Oh my god! I once had a friend who, after an emergency appendectomy, said that his only symptom before fainting in the emergency room was that it had felt like he'd been doing too many sit-ups. Lightheadedness ensues. Order Jack to stay at the stove and keep stirring while I stagger away to collapse on the couch. But wait, is that a gas bubble I feel traversing my colon? Could it be . . .


The True Story of My Miraculous Self-Healing:

While Jackson stood next to the toilet shouting "Pee-WEE! MOMMY FARTED!", I closed my eyes as if in prayer and took a big orange-colored five-day-old-enchilada shit.

And then we had osso buco.